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Stop Harmful Trade Agreement

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a raw deal for Americans. NAFTA has already contributed to offshoring almost five million U.S. manufacturing jobs. TPP would expand NAFTA's incentives to push our jobs overseas.

The TPP would increase income inequality. Workers in high-paying manufacturing jobs would have to compete for low-paying jobs, as we have already seen in other TPP-like trade deals. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows 90% of U.S. workers would see a wage decrease as a result of TPP ["Gains from Trade? The Net Effect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on U.S. Wages," September 2013].

The TPP would allow unsafe food to be imported to the U.S. The U.S. could be required to eliminate food-safety rules that are more stringent than the international standards. The TPP would limit food labeling such as where our food comes from and possibly GMO labeling. Some food-labeling laws have already been challenged and removed due to existing trade agreements. For instance, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against the U.S.' country-of-origin of meat-labeling law and issued sanctions against the U.S. until we eliminated the law. The WTO also forced the U.S. to eliminate our dolphin-safe labeling program. The TPP would even allow companies to bypass safety inspections of food imports into the U.S.

Prices of drugs would increase in the U.S. by expanding monopolies of the pharmaceutical industry. The TPP would limit competition of generic drugs, thereby increasing the cost of name-brand drugs.

The TPP would allow foreign corporations--and U.S. corporations that moved jobs overseas--to sue the U.S. before a tribunal of private attorneys outside of the U.S. court system in order to challenge environmental, health, and Wall Street regulations that these corporations feel interfere with their business. The corporations could demand taxpayer compensation before the tribunal even though the laws apply equally to domestic and foreign companies.

After the financial meltdown in 2008, countries are doing away with policies that deregulated banks and are re-regulating them. The TPP is poised to give even more power to Wall Street. The TPP would require countries to keep the banking industry deregulated. Under the TPP, governments would be limited on their abilities to stop financial risky products such as toxic derivatives, which led to the bailout of AIG, from entering their economies. It would also prevent our efforts to stop banks from being "too big to fail."

It is important that we contact our members of Congress and President Obama to urge them not to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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William holds a BBA from Western Michigan University and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

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